Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake (Cheat)

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I went through so much to get this cake to work (none of which should discourage you from making it! You’ll see…)

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I figured I’d find a mini chocolate cake to bake in my heart-shaped cake pan and share that with you guys!

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I found the perfect recipe. I precisely measured out all my ingredients and mixed them together, only to find that the batter had turned into a thick dough instead of a silky cake batter. In my state of despair, I added in a splash of milk to thin the batter, but no luck. I was utterly confused. Everything was perfect…right?

I decided to take a look at the recipe again, reading the first ingredients and – oh. It called for 1/2 cup of flour, but because I’m so used to making full-sized cakes, my mind automatically processed it as 1 1/2 cups. uGH. Unfortunately, I had to discard that batter (after eating a bit of it, of course), and starting over. You can observe this failure here:

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Also, the cake is meant for a 6-inch circle pan, but mine is heart-shaped so it’s smaller. I had a little bit of leftover cake batter, which I made into a cute little bear cake! I was planning on drawing on it’s little eyes and nose and mouth with melted white chocolate, only to find that I don’t have white chocolate at home. Since when is that a thing?? What happened to my emergency stash of 3 white chocolate bars?

And lastly, lighting was not my friend today. I must’ve tried taking photos in at least 6 different locations around the house, hence the inconsistency with backgrounds in these photos.

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Despite all that, the cake itself turned out amazing. Look at how fluffy it rose! It’s so fluffy and has the perfect chocolate flavor to it. If you wish, a chocolate ganache would pair beautifully with it, but a dusting of icing sugar works just fine as well.

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Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Dessert for Two

Makes one 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (37g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm coffee
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar or chocolate ganache (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream or yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and coffee
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Transfer the batter into a lined and greased 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate ganache (optional)
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Best Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Cheat)

I don’t bake with fruit much, but bananas are an exception.

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Banana bread and banana cakes – I could never get enough.

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I had such a difficult time letting the cake cool enough to be frosted. As soon as I took the beautifully baked cake out of my oven, the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of banana cake. It might not sound that appealing, but trust me, it took so much mental effort to not eat the entire cake right there and then. It smelled that good. It was honestly driving me crazy, and I went on this rampage around the house, desperately trying to find something to satisfy my cravings so that I wouldn’t eat the cake before frosting it. I was so keen on eating banana cake that I didn’t even want chocolate truffles, and let me tell you – I never turn down chocolate truffles…well, until now.

Finally, I had no other choice but to eat something completely different. I microwaved a plate of homemade dumplings leftover from yesterday, covered them in vinegar (I love vinegar), and ran away from the banana-scented kitchen. At last, my taste buds had calmed down and I could focus on other things again as my banana cake cooled in the kitchen.

Soon enough, my cravings started up again and I figured it was time to frost the cake up and start eating.

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I think I knew how good this cake was going to be, but nevertheless, tasting it for the first time blew me away. The banana cake is everything you’d want a cake to be. It had a crumb similar to banana bread, only fluffier. The flavour of banana was definitely there, and it paired so beautifully with the cream cheese frosting. I mean, the cake itself was amazing, but the cake and the frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly. It was a perfect combination of flavours and I’m so in love.

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Oh, and in case you were wondering, the cake was gone within two days. It was that good.

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Best Banana Cake

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt
  3. In another bowl, use an electric hand mixer or in a stand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until creamed together
  4. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, before adding in the mashed bananas
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, 1/3 of a time and alternating with the buttermilk (Stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, stir in 1/3 of the buttermilk, and repeat with the remaining). Do not over mix
  6. Spread the batter into a greased and/or lined 9×13 inch baking pan and bake for around 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting
  7. For the frosting, using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes
  8. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving
  9. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days

My 17th Birthday Cake (Cheat)

~5-layer midnight cake with cheesecake filling, covered with a generous layer of pink buttercream, glossy chocolate ganache, and topped with whipped cream and Oreos~

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Guess who’s 17 years old!

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I have a love-hate relationship with birthdays. I love everything about them, except the fact that I’m another year older. I prefer other people’s birthdays, with all the celebrations and games and cakes and gift-opening, but without me being consciously aware of my ageing.

It’s weird, isn’t it? The way that day by day, hour by hour, we age, but it’s only once a year for 24 hours that we actually acknowledge it. Then again, acknowledging our constant ageing would take some of the fun out of birthdays.

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I don’t understand why people want to get older. A pessimistic way of putting is is that every year, you’re a year closer to death. You become more likely to get sick. You have more responsibilities. Then again, an optimistic way of seeing is is that every year, you are faced with new opportunities. You’ll graduate and start a new chapter of your life. You might get a job. You might meet “the one”. You might get married. You might have kids. Who knows? In the end, the best way to predict your future is to live it the way you want. Sometime’s it’s just easier to be passive to all that happens around you, so that when things go wrong, you can blame the world and carry on, but wow, that must get boring. The happiest people are those who take control of their lives and steer it the way they want to go. When things go wrong, they acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them, and when things go right, they’re living Heaven on Earth. You pick (hint: I’d go with the second one).

I always seem to get really reflective on my birthday. Is it just me?

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But let’s focus on the real reason you’re here: CAKE!

Another reason why I always get excited about birthdays – cake. This year, I decided to bake myself a 5-layer midnight cake with cheesecake filling, covered with a generous layer of pink buttercream, glossy chocolate ganache, and topped with whipped cream and Oreos. Helll yes.

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To be honest, the cake is pretty much just a chocolate cake with black food colouring added. I used to not like chocolate cake. I thought that it was too rich. I’d always opt for vanilla or red velvet. Chocolate cake just wasn’t my thing, but alas, times have changed. Maybe I’d been deprived of chocolate cake for too long, but this chocolate cake was the bomb. Even before I baked the cake, the cake batter was waving chocolatey scents at me, trying to get me to give in and admit that chocolate cake is one of the best kinds of cake. While I was trimming the cakes, I nibbled on some of the cake crumbs and I was in awe, trying to understand how I had ever disliked chocolate cake. This chocolate cake is velvety. It’s suuper moist and it’s perfectly sweet. It has a wonderful cocoa flavour that isn’t overwhelming, and it pairs beautifully with all the other flavours going on in this cake.

Speaking of other flavours…THE CHEESECAKE FILLING. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but cream cheese frostings are magical. Maybe that’s a biased opinion because they’re my favourite, but tbh I’ve never met anyone who dislikes cream cheese frosting. The cheesecake filling tastes pretty much just like cream cheese frosting, but there isn’t as much butter. The butter’s replaced with whipped cream, which is just folded in at the end, so that you end up with filling that’s extra fluffy and light, but definitely is not missing any flavour.

I don’t want to be writing an essay here, so I’m just going to tell you that the buttercream, chocolate ganache, whipping cream, and Oreos are perfect. Simply, utterly, perfect.

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5-Layer Midnight Cake with Cheesecake Filling and Pink Buttercream

Adapted from various sources (linked below)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) “black” unsweetened cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon black gel food colouring)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

For the cheesecake filling

  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g freshly whipped cream
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted

For the pink buttercream

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (500g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink food colouring

For the chocolate ganache

  • 5 ounces (150 g) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt)
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey

For the whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste
  • Oreos, for topping

Method

I’ve included generic bad-quality, unedited photos that I took while I was assembling the cake for reference. Let me know if you have any questions!

  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three lined and greased 8-inch cake pans or weigh for accuracy. Each pan should weigh about 600 grams
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. For the cheesecake filling, use an electric mixer to whip cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream until combined
  7. For the pink buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract, food colouring, and 1 tablespoon of whipping cream and beat until combined
  8. To assemble the cake, trim the cake layers, and then halve them so that each cake becomes two layers.
  9. Place approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the cheesecake filling (or buttercream) on the center of a cake board, and place your bottom cake layer onto the cake board. Add about 1/2-3/4 cup of cheesecake filling onto the top of the cake, and using a small offset spatula, spread the filling so that it covers the top of the cake. It’s okay to let a little bit of filling go over the side. Add the next cake layer and repeat until you’ve reached your final cake layer
  10. Cover the cake with a thin layer of the cheesecake filling (or buttercream), also known as crumb coating it, and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes
  11. Cover the cake in pink buttercream and chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes
  12. In the meantime, make the chocolate ganache. In a small bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes
  13. For the whipping cream, use a whisk or electric hand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the powdered sugar. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip
  14. (Assembling, continued) Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon the chocolate glaze to the edges of the cake, gently pushing some over the side and letting it dribble down. When you’ve finished putting chocolate glaze on the edges of the cake, spoon chocolate glaze into the centre until covered
  15. When the chocolate has set slightly, pipe the whipped cream around the edges of the cake and top each swirl with half an Oreo
  16. Serve!

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Blueberry Bread (Cheat)

It’s blueberry season (I think)! Have some blueberry bread~

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I’m still in utter disbelief that school starts in half a month. It’s honestly so depressing to think about all that work ahead of me that I’ve been procrastinating – college apps, extended essay, IAs…

GAH ok I won’t think about that now. For now, I’m gonna focus on telling you about this blueberry bread, aight? Blueberry bread. Blueberry bread.

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This blueberry bread is everything you’d want in a loaf cake. It has just the right texture and flavor, not to mention that its full of delicious blueberries! Each slice is guaranteed a generous amount of blueberries.

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I’ve never really cared much about flouring blueberries before mixing them into the batter. It prevents the blueberries from bleeding, but look the gorgeous patterns they make when they bleed! It’s so pretty! Food is art, I tell you.

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Blueberry Bread

Recipe adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC or 350ºF
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, and oil
  4. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until almost combined, with a few streaks of flour remaining
  5. Fold in the blueberries
  6. Transfer the mixture into a lined or greased 5×12 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

Cake-Infused Ice Cream (Cheat)

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I’m back!

It’s been like 3 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe. Sorry. I’ve been on vacation and my laptop decided to break (as always). I was in Sri Lanka for a week doing volunteering with turtle conservation, which was amazing beyond words. Watching the little turtles hatch and setting them free into the ocean were both unforgettable experiences. Seriously, if you haven’t already, volunteer for some sort of animal conservation. It’s absolutely incredible. I’m already thinking about what I’ll do next – shark conservation? Panda? Bear? Elephant? All of the above?

Other than that, I also went to the UK to make some final decisions about which universities I’d apply to, and then went to the Netherlands to reunite with my brother.

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In case you were wondering, my laptop still isn’t working, but thankfully, I have my brother’s.

Anyways, on to the recipe! I have so many ice cream recipes to share with you guys. Unfortunately, my brother’s laptop doesn’t have Photoshop and I didn’t edit any photos before I left, soo…we’ll see. But I did have this recipe waiting patiently in my hard drive to be posted, so here it is – cake infused ice cream.

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A while ago, I baked a cake. Two actually. It didn’t go so well. They were in the oven for like an hour. The toothpick came out clean and judging from the outside, they looked like they was baked through. They were mud cakes, too, so pressing the middle wasn’t really an option for testing out whether they were done.

After I let them cool, I cut off the top layers (I was making a layered cake), only to find that the insides were still uncooked. Nevertheless, there was a thick ring of the cake on each one that actually cooked through, so I crumbled them up and sat in my kitchen for a bit, thinking what in the world I would do with the cake crumbs. Mind you – there were lots of crumbs.

I settled for cake pops – obviously. It’s the classic thing to make when you have cake crumbs. I made Supernatural Cake Pops, but in addition to that, I figured I’d make ice cream and put cake crumbs into it.

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I stuck with the easiest possible ice cream base. It’s 2 ingredients and is no-churn! My favourite ice cream base ever. Then, I just tossed in a couple cups of cake crumbs, threw the whole thing into the freezer, and voila! Cake-infused ice cream.

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Cake-Infused Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cup chocolate cake crumbs

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a regular mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form
  2. Gently whip/fold in the condensed milk until fully combined
  3. Gently fold in the cake crumbs
  4. Pour into a container and cover with plastic film/aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours
  5. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving

Black Sesame Chiffon Cake (Cheat)

Think of the fluffiest cake in the world.

Just think of the fluffiest cake in the world. You’d better be thinking about this cake, cause this is as fluffy as they get.

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I’ve only just posted a souffléd recipe, but here I am, doing it again. I’m obsessed. Soufflé foods are just so damn fluffy. So damn fluffy! It’s like eating a cloud, except there is that undeniable texture of cake and you get a hint of sweetness and black sesame. It all makes sense once you take a bite into a slice of this cake, trust me.

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Because this cake is so fluffy, it never leaves me feeling uncomfortably full. I can eat half the cake before realizing that, oops, I ate half the cake. Then again, I’m not consumed by guilt the way I normally would, because to be honest, even though I labelled this as a “cheat” recipe, it’s pretty healthy.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go the extra mile and turn this into a full-on clean recipe, and it’s because this recipe is already perfect, and what’s the point in perfecting perfection?

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Also – this recipe is super easy to make. It comes together with just 6 main ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

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Black Sesame Chiffon Cake

Adapted from Green Cilantro

Ingredients

  • 100g cake flour
  • 1/3 cup + 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50g ground black sesame seed powder*
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

*Alternatively, you could simply grind up black sesame seeds in a blender/food processor until it reaches a powdery consistency. That being said – don’t over-blend the seeds or else you’ll end up with black sesame paste!

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the black sesame powder and whisk until well combined
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale yellow and slowly add in the vegetable oil. Beat until the mixture is thick
  4. Add the egg yolk mixture and milk into the sesame seed mixture and mix until well combined
  5. Using a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer running, add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside
  6. Gently fold the egg whites, 1/3 of the egg whites at a time, into the other batter using a spatula or a balloon whisk
  7. Transfer the mixture into a bundt pan or an angel food cake pan and bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  8. Allow to cool completely before serving

Avocado Bread (Cheat)

Where do I start with this avocado bread? Well, as the original creator says, it’s “like banana bread, but with avocados”, and I agree. It’s like a loaf cake, with just the perfect sweetness and the wonderful scents and flavors of a classic loaf cake.

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Granted, you can’t taste the avocado, which I suppose is a good thing, because I don’t know how sweetness and avocado go together, but nonetheless, the addition of avocado gives it a beautifully pale green crumb and a little nutritional boost.

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By the way, in case you’re wondering why my avocado bread turned out looking a lot shorter and denser than the original one here, it’s because I used a pretty standard-sizes loaf tin, so it’s longer and less tall. However, trust me when I say that the crumb is still perfectly tender and light. It just happens to be shorter, but hey, short food (that’s a really weird term that I’ll probably never use again) can be beautiful, too.

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Avocado Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (56g) butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup avocado purée (purée about 1 1/2-2 avocados in a food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla, before mixing in the avocado purée and lime juice
  4. Add the flour mixture into the avocado mixture and fold until just combined. Do not over mix. The batter will be very thick
  5. Transfer the batter into a small loaf pan, greased or lined with parchment paper, and bake for 35-45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, with no wet batter sticking to it. Allow to cool completely, before slicing and serving